The Bald Truth

George Carlin, one of my favorite comedians, was known for his obsession with language and his uncensored, incisive take on the way language can shield us from facing reality and allow us to hide from hypocrisy in society and our own lives.  When reports of the shooting at Fort Hood began to touch on the possibility that the shooter suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder I thought of a classic Carlin routine where he traces how this very real effect of war on the human psyche went from the "simple, honest, direct" term "shell shock" in World War I through the softer "battle fatigue" until landing on the more distant and bloodless Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.   He ends by wondering if we would be more alert to the plight of those who suffer from bearing the real costs of our wars if the bald term "shell shock" had not given way to the less jarring the rest


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